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How Much Aluminum Is Thrown into the Trash on a Regular Basis?

By Kevin Hellyer
Updated Feb 25, 2016
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Many Americans recycle glass, plastic and cardboard, but a lot of aluminum gets carelessly thrown away. So much of this lightweight metal is discarded that the U.S. commercial airline industry could replace its entire fleet every three months, according to a publication by the University of Colorado.

Making new cans out of old ones saves a lot of energy. According to the Windstar Institute, a manufacturing company could make 20 recycled aluminum cans by using the same amount of energy necessary to make one new aluminum can from bauxite ore. The Reynolds Metal Co. adds that recycling just one can saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours.

More on the many uses of aluminum:

  • During World War II, aluminum foil was so vital to the defense effort that families were encouraged to save it. In many towns, balls of foil could be exchanged for free entry into a movie theater.
  • Nearly 75 percent of all aluminum produced in the U.S. is still in use today.
  • Aluminum can be recycled over and over without any loss of quality, and an aluminum beverage container can be recycled and back on the shelf within 60 days.
About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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